ABU DHABI, 19th January, 2022 (WAM) — One hundred and fifty-seven Emiratis were felicitated during the graduation of the third cohort of 2021 from the pioneering Ghaya financial literacy programme on Monday, launched by the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an – which is part of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Social Development (DCD).
The virtual graduation ceremony was attended by Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development; Riyad Al Mubarak, Honorary President of Emirates Accountants and Auditors Association; Salama Al Ameemi, Director-General of Ma’an; Abdulla Al Ameri, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority; Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Managing Director of ADGM Academy, and Kareem Refaay, Regional Director of Gulf and MENA, The London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF).
The Ghaya financial literacy programme was launched in 2020, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy and the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF), with the support of the Abu Dhabi Social Support Authority. The programme addresses a critical social priority of financial literacy, defined by the DCD.
Today, with the support of the DCD, and in line with Maan’s commitment to empower the third sector and engage social enterprises and non-profit associations to address social priorities in Abu Dhabi, the AAA has been onboarded to operate the programme.
Participants included applicants from the general public and Ma’an’s strategic partner, the Social Support Authority (SSA), individuals nominated by the Crown Prince Court, as well as Abu Dhabi government employees nominated by the Abu Dhabi School of Government (ADSG). The programme also had 45 specialist volunteers with knowledge in finance, who shared their expertise with participants, teaching them and guiding them throughout the course. The LIBF awarded them with Certified Ghaya Volunteer Trainer digital badges.
Commenting on the long-term benefits of financial literacy, Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, said, “Financial literacy requires both knowledge and strong decision-making skills, both of which also bolster individuals’ overall wellbeing. It is safe to say that when people acquire financial literacy, it vastly improves their quality of life and the quality of life in society in general. The Ghaya programme is an essential component of our effort to steadily improve the quality of life in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”
He stressed that the programme thus aims to enhance one’s knowledge of financial management; consolidates the foundations of information regarding financial management; provides participants with the necessary expertise to manage their financial affairs efficiently, all while enabling them to take appropriate decisions to manage their financial affairs intelligently, to avoid debt.
Reaffirming his commitment to support the programme, Riyad Al Mubarak said, “We are extremely pleased to support such a noble mission in enhancing the community’s financial wellbeing. We thank Ma’an and its partners who are contributing to addressing such an important topic.”
Speaking about the need to build a knowledge-based economy, Al Mubarak said, “The Ghaya programme covers all areas necessary for an individual to become financially savvy and independent. We hope that our efforts will help build a more stable and financially responsible society.”
Salama Al Ameemi, said the Ghaya programme is already making a difference in the lives of individuals. Following up with the graduates three, six, and nine months after graduation, significant data was captured from the first cohort in March 2020. “Six months after the first cohort graduating, we found that the majority of beneficiaries can manage their finances effectively after undertaking the programme.”
Citing data, she added that 85 per cent of the programme beneficiaries managed unforeseen financial difficulties three months after graduation, while more than 70 per cent were confident of their saving behaviours. “This reinforces the impact Ghaya has had on budgeting and financial planning.”
On graduating, participants will have the opportunity to access a financial clinic for 12 weeks. In addition, they will be able to work with a licenced financial advisor to support them in addressing specific financial issues they are facing and putting a plan of action together.
Abdulla Al Ameri said, “The knowledge gained by ‘Ghaya’ programme participants around the foundations and principles of financial management will enable them to control their financial matters more effectively and contribute to achieving sustainable financial stability. This, in turn, will reflect positively on the overall development of the community.”
Hamad Al Mazrouei said, “Financial literacy is not an issue unique to any one population. It affects everyone, and we can no longer remain indifferent to it. The economic future of the UAE depends on it. The programme is a testament to our commitment to follow the vision of the Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to build a nation that empowers its people with knowledge and skills to help them determine their future and rise above any challenge they might face.”
Reaffirming his commitment to support the programme in the future, Kareem Refaay said, “The Ghaya initiative is a sustainability-driven mission, whereby we can identify these individuals as ambassadors within their communities who can lead by example when it comes to making better financial decisions.”